November 23, 2012


'Power of One' author Bryce Courtenay dies at 79 : Derided by critics and adored by the public, Bryce Courtenay, the shrewd advertising executive who became Australia's most popular author (Jonathan Pearlman, Sydney3:56AM GMT 23 Nov 2012, The Telegraph)

Born in Johannesburg in 1933, he is said to have based The Power of One on his troubled childhood. He was the illegitimate child of a dressmaker, Maude Greer, and a clothing salesman, Arthur Ryder, who lived with his wife and their five children. He spent several years in an orphanage shortly after his birth and later claimed that he overcame brutal beatings by learning to box and tell stories. He claimed he was "one of the most applied and academically gifted children the school has seen" but was banished from the country after teaching literacy to black people.

Though various elements of his biography have been challenged - including tales of accidental encounters with Stephen King, Clive James and Germaine Greer - he admitted falsifying aspects of his life but never for personal or financial gain. And he denied claims by his sister that he lied about his difficult upbringing in South Africa.

Courtenay's 21st and final book, Jack of Diamonds, was released in Australia on November 12. He was married to Benita for 40 years - before their divorce in 2000 - and the pair had three sons. His 1993 bestseller April Fool's Day, was a tribute to his youngest son, Damon, who contracted HIV/Aids via an infected blood transfusion in 1991 and died at the age of 24.

In one of his final interviews, he claimed that he tried to be honest but that ultimately the "only thing that is authentic about what a writer writes is his work."
"My job, and that's my job, is to dress the naked truth," he told ABC Television.

"To make it interesting, to make it viable, to make it seem like something you understand and feel and love."

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Posted by at November 23, 2012 4:39 AM

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